Of course, neither April nor Kevin were my children, and yet I can't help but feel as a parent would.
I can only imagine what the two fathers are going through. Both families are hard working, and I'm sure both fathers would wish anything to have been there to prevent the accident.
Too, I feel badly for the trucker, and grieve with him for the feelings he must be having, which amount to "if only".
But above all that, moments like this remind us of our mortality. In NY, we have constant reminders of this. All we have to do is go to Ground Zero. We become endowed with a callous over us, to protect us from the memories.
An event like this slices those away. High school kids die every year. Stuyvesant has more than its share of tragedy. The pressure to achieve is enormous, and so suicides are not uncommon.
And then there are deaths like those immortalized in "Death Be Not Proud," by John Gunther. The pain of those tragedies is mitigated somewhat by the examples of courage and resolve that the student shows, just by getting out of bed each morning and going to work.
But this, a snuffing out of a life...
One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever got was to envision my tombstone. I'll pass it along here:
"Based on what you have done in your life, can you be happy with your epitaph when you die?I've made it to my age by the grace of God and some good luck. Many is the time I was thought dead or should have been dead, but for quick reflexes, a strong will, and coolness under fire (sometimes literally). There were times even I thought my luck had run out.
Will you be happy calling yourself an accountant, a doctor, a fry cook? If that's what you love to do, then great. But, if you'd be embarassed or ashamed or disappointed by this, then do what you want to do."
I would gladly give some of that luck to April and to Kevin, to his mother and brother, to bring them back.